Archives for February 8th, 2002

RECRUITMENT CAMPAIGNS FOR NURSES AND TEACHERS DELIVER RESULTS

Headlines, PublicNet: 8 February, 2002

Figures from the Department of Health show that in the year ending September 2001 an extra 20,740 nurses joined the health service. This figure exceeds the target in the NHS Plan to recruit 20,000 more nurses and midwives by 2004. After deducting nurses who left the health service, the number of nurses working for the NHS rose by 14,400, the biggest increase on record. The Return to Practice initiative, which brought back many experienced nurses who had left the service, contributed to the increase, along with better pay, child care and flexible working options.A similar picture has emerged from the Department for Education and Skills. There has been a 23 per cent rise in the number of people applying for Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education courses. Applications are up in all ‘shortage’ subjects. Compared with this time last year there has been a 29% rise in numbers of people applying to train as Maths teachers and a 13% rise in numbers of people applying to train as Science teachers. Measures taken to boost recruitment include 6,000 pound training bursaries and 4,000 pound Golden Hellos for those who qualify in the ‘shortage’ subjects. The Education Bill, currently in Parliament, contains provisions for the student loans of newly-qualified teachers in ‘shortage’ subjects to be paid off.

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CUSTOMER SATISFACTION – THE ELUSIVE GOAL FOR PUBLIC SERVICES

Headlines, PublicNet: 8 February, 2002

The latest Best Value indicators for local councils show overall performance at 80% with a steadily improving trend. But customer satisfaction surveys, the ultimate test of performance, show a satisfaction rate of 65%. This result, based on the first ever Best Value customer surveys of people in all council areas in the country, quantifies the concerns of managers across the public sector. The alarm bells for customer satisfaction started to ring last year when a survey showed that while public service managers believed services had improved, the general public did not recognize any change.The wide gulf between organizational performance and customer satisfaction can be partly explained by the findings of mystery shoppers testing out different public services. Half of callers to the Driver Vehicle Agency took three attempts to get through, while one third of callers to the Highways Agency received inadequate information about roadworks. Calls to the Benefits Agency failed to produce the wanted information leaflet.

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